Cross Three Quarter Horses

Cross Three Quarter Horse RanchAt the Cross Three Quarter Horse Ranch, we believe that horses are more than just the best way to get a ranch job done–they are a way of life. The world looks better when viewed between the ears of a trustworthy horse.

Wylie Gustafson’s horse operation and training center is nestled in the heart of Montana’s Golden Triangle, 60 miles north of Great Falls, near the small town of Conrad. His successful ranching and cutting background is the key to the basic foundation of his horse program. Level-headed and sure-footed cow horses are a necessity for gathering, sorting, and working cattle.  Durability is an uncompromised aspect of his breeding program.  His 16 year old gelding “Irish Whiskey Sugar” is still winning championships in NCHA and High School Rodeo events.    Wylie takes advantage of  his family’s ranching operation withb its wide open spaces, natural obstacles, and abundant livestock to create a horse that understands life outdoors. Wylie also utilizes a spacious 80′ x 180′ indoor arena to work on the performance aspects of the program. He and his horses work year-round regardless of the weather.

The Cross Three Quarter Horse program is steeped in history.  In 1939, Wylie’s father Rib Gustafson and uncle Duke Gustafson took a trip to Marfa TX to procure some of the first quarter horse seed stock to bring back to northern Montana.  The Gustafson brothers in turn provided some of the first quarter horse blood for the rodeo, race and cow horse industry of Montana.  The time tested lines of Rib and Duke are still working in Montana and the surrounding states.  Rib Gustafson was inducted into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame in January 2014 partly because of his important contributions to the northern horse culture.  Rib and Duke have since passed but their legacy of raising durable Montana ranch and performance horses goes on with Cross Three Quarter Horses.

Wylie’s breeding philosophy takes special care in creating a big utilitarian quarter horse that can compete at the highest levels of performance horse events on the weekends and come back to the ranch and pull a 2000 pound bull.  The Cross Three program shoots for a 15.3hh athletic, durable and intelligent cow horse that is easy to train. His training program is not about big bits or sharp spurs. He strives to build the quiet confidence a horse needs to do a job well. A snaffle bit is used on all young horses, and he often goes back to the snaffle to re-supple older horses. He focuses on developing a horse that is light and supple in the face, poll, shoulder, and hip. He requires that a horse move any part of its body without resistance. The horses are trained to be flexible and relaxed when asked to move in any direction, at any speed. Sale horses are guaranteed sound with no vices.

Wylie continues to compete regularly at NCHA cutting eventsand has NCHA earnings of over $120,000. He is a participant in local ranch roping contests.  In his younger days he was a competitive team roper.  He currently uses the real experiences of his cattle and horse operation there to develop his breeding program to create the best horse for the job.  Wylie works consistently, training and tuning performance and ranch horses, using a program that combines ranch work with regular exposure to cattle and buffalo. He varies the training program with arena work, outdoor work, dry work, and live work, so a horse does not become one dimensional. Every horse at the ranch learns how to handle a rope, drag a log, open a gate, cross a creek, and learn the basics of a versatile ranch horse. Versatility is an important aspect of the Cross Three program.  It’s proven itself by winning top honors at the Bonina Ranch Horse Sale, where Wylie won the All-Around Ranch Versatility Horse Contest against some of the Northwest’s toughest competition.

He regularly trailers horses to roping, ranch and cutting events–where they learn to stand tied and relaxed–away from home.  Wylie has taken great care and time to develop a consistent program to create Cross Three Ranch cutters, cow horses, penners, sorters, and using horses. Along with producing specifically bred weanlings and yearlings, Wylie takes pride in turning out calm, confident, trusting colts–and dependable, athletic saddle/performance horses. Wylie believes it’s important to further his horse education by continually riding with successful trainers and instructors, including Tarin Rice, Chubby Turner, Paul Hansma, Curt Pate, Lindy Burch, Buck Brannaman, Pat Wyse, Jake Barnes, and Dale Woodard.  His breeding program is assisted by the expertise of folks like Dr. Glen Blodgett of the 6666 Ranch in Texas.
We encourage you to call or e-mail for more information on any of Wylie’s fine horses. Better yet, come on out to Conrad for a visit and a test drive! We’re easy to find and have plenty of room to park your trailer.   We can recommend reputable haulers for transportation anywhere in the country.  If a horse is not as promised, Wylie will gladly take it back without questions.  He is proud of the testimonials from satisfied customers.